Mapping Geomagnetic Field Variations with Unmanned Airborne Vehicles



Unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly being used for a variety of commercial and research applications. The small (wingspan ∼3 meters), fully autonomous aircraft are well suited for use in remote areas or dangerous settings. UAVs that are launched and recovered on land are being used for atmospheric chemistry and surface imaging studies and for aeromagnetic surveys [Curry et al., 2004; Ramanathan et al., 2007; Funaki et al., 2007]. We report here on the first deployment of UAVs launched from a marine research vessel. The UAVs mapped fluctuations in the magnetic field in a remote area of the southwestern Pacific Ocean.